Welcome to the 11th week of our Western Conference playoff race coverage. The playoff picture is becoming very clear in terms of which teams are going to be in. But there’s still a lot of movement in the standings and it’s a bit fuzzy in terms of which teams will play each other moving forward.
Let’s check out the race as we begin the weekend!
WHERE THEY STAND
Alright, here’s where things stand: Chicago is officially in and the other seven teams that haven’t clinched are almost there.
Everybody but Los Angeles has almost zero chance of making the playoffs. The Kings’ tragic number is 5.5, meaning any combination of 5.5 Nashville wins or Los Angeles losses officially cements the top eight clubs.
As has been happening for awhile, there are three main races:
- San Jose, Anaheim, Edmonton and Calgary vying for the three Pacific Division spots (the Sharks have fallen back into this group).
- Nashville and St. Louis are fighting for the last Central Division spot.
- Calgary, Nashville, St. Louis and Los Angeles (barely) are fighting for the two wildcard spots.
If the playoffs began today the Flames would be playing San Jose, but there’s a lot of movement likely still to come in the standings.
THIS PAST WEEK
The Flames won twice and lost twice over their past week. They beat Dallas and Los Angeles at home, then lost to Washington and Nashville on the road.
THIS COMING WEEK
The Flames play three times before next Friday. They’ll face St. Louis on Saturday, then head home to face Colorado on Monday and Los Angeles on Wednesday. The game against the Kings is the most likely candidate for when they’ll clinch a playoff spot officially.
Focusing in on the teams in Calgary’s general vicinity:
- Anaheim (three points up, one game in hand): they play Winnipeg, NY Rangers, Vancouver and Winnipeg (again).
- Edmonton (three points up): they play Colorado, Los Angeles and San Jose.
- St. Louis (one point back, one game in hand): they play Calgary and Arizona (twice).
- Nashville (one point back, one game in hand): they play San Jose, NY Islanders, Boston and Toronto.
- Los Angeles (nine points back, one game in hand): they play NY Rangers, Edmonton and Calgary.
This time next week, we’ll have a much clearer picture of who might play who in the postseason.